DC council member wants to allow rush-hour parking on Connecticut Avenue for safety
WASHINGTON - In February, a violent car crash on Connecticut Avenue in Northwest D.C. near the Smithsonian National Zoo left one man dead and three others injured.
The crash has prompted Ward 3 ANCs and Councilmember Matt Frumin to request that the D.C. Department of Transportation allow parking during rush hour to slow down drivers.
DDOT already lowered the speed limit and removed the reversible lanes on Connecticut to try and calm down traffic.
RELATED: Multi-vehicle crash leaves several injured in northwest DC
There's also a highly debated bike-lane plan in the works, which would make dedicated bike lanes in each direction limit cars to four lanes of traffic instead of six.
"So, the things we are doing are not working well enough, and adding parking puts the road on a diet," explained Ward 3 Councilmember Matt Frumin.
Ward 3 Councilmember Matt Frumin
Frumin wrote a letter to DDOT requesting the agency take a look at removing all rush-hour parking restrictions North of Calvert Street NW.
"The balance is to make sure that there is a route to come in but to make sure that they go at the appropriate speeds," said Frumin of the many drivers who commute in and out of the District every day.
Frumin says he's already had feedback from many people in the community, many of whom are in favor of adding parking and reducing speeds.
RELATED: Connecticut Avenue bike lane plan faces opposition
"It's a huge problem for us when customers try to come in around this 5-6 o'clock time, you know, they're not allowed to park," said Jack Tobe, general manager of Allen Woods Flowers on Connecticut.
Tobe says he is in favor of the additional parking but is very concerned about the future plans to create bike lanes along the sidewalk, removing much of the parking that is currently available.
Jack Tobe, general manager of Allen Woods Flowers on Connecticut Avenue.
"It will be good in the short term but in the long term eliminating the parking will definitely be a detriment to our business," Tobe said.
FOX 5 also spoke with Ellen Hendrix who lives just off of Connecticut. Hendrix says she's unsure if allowing parking during rush hour will solve the problem.
"It might make it a little more congested actually with people pulling over to park," she said. "I know there's a lot of traffic here and rush hour gets really busy."
Frumin says reducing the number of lanes for cars will help pedestrians cross the street safely and encourage drivers to go the speed limit. He also told FOX 5 it will be a good simulation for what is to come with the DDOT bike lane project.
READ MORE: DC lowers speed limit on major roads from 30 to 25 miles per hour
The project is still in the design phase, construction is not expected to begin until 2025. Many businesses along Connecticut Ave have spoken out against the bike lanes with complaints it will hinder customers as well as loading.
Frumin says he is in support of bike lanes but wants DDOT to balance the needs of business owners and those with disabilities and accessibility concerns.
He is also asking DDOT to consider putting in signs that warn drivers of their speed in addition to red light and speed cameras. As for how quickly parking could be unrestricted along Connecticut, Furmin said: "I think it's a decision by DDOT and then changing the signs."